Review Summary: Your argument about these guys stealing from Botch is almost as redundant as this album.
When approaching an album like O’ God The Aftermath, it is important to take into account the genre that the album falls under and influences that Norma Jean took in order to craft such an album. Mathcore, a genre many elitists claim does not exist, was pretty much created by a band know as Botch, and it is probably true that no band in the genre will ever reach the level of intensity and perfection that Botch achieved on their magnum opus, We Are The Romans. It can be argued that bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge certainly did more than their fair share to expand and better the genre of Mathcore, but it’s obvious that Norma Jean was attempting a sound more comparable to Botch’s sound when writing O’ God The Aftermath. While many claim Norma Jean’s O’ God The Aftermath is a copy and paste job of We Are the Romans, I see it rather as an evolution of the genre. O’ God The Aftermath focuses on the off-beat riffs and dissonance that can be so clearly heard in Botch’s music, but Norman Jean manages to take those influences and infuses them with their love of metalcore breakdowns and riffage. The result is a collection songs that turn out to be far more groovy and brutal than those of Botch’s.
Does anyone even remember or listen to Bless The Martyr, And Kiss The Child? I would kind of hope not, mostly because that album is full of garbage. Props go to Norma Jean for realizing the flaws of their debut album and completely improving their sound on their sophomore effort. Some of the biggest flaws on their debut album were the vocals and the lack of any sort of technicality. Both of those fatal flaws are improved upon in this release. Cory Brandan takes up vocal duty’s after the departure of former vocalist Josh Scogin, now vocalist for hardcore band The Chariot, and it is a welcome addition to the band. His screams are raw and unrelenting which fits the chaotic nature of the music perfectly. He also displays some pretty epic singing on the track Bayonetwork, something that their debut album did not contain but the band utilized more and more on later releases. The technicality in this album is the most noticeable improvement for the band. While the musicianship on Bless The Martyr, And Kiss The Child felt uninspired and was carried out by an inexperienced sounding band, O’god the aftermath showcases some mind-bending guitar riffs and drumming carried out by a more confident group of musicians.
While it’s an enjoyable album in which the band stepped up their game immensely, there are still very obvious flaws. Redundancy is a rampant virus in the metalcore community, and this album is most definitely infected. Every song pretty much contains the same things: intensity, dissonance, off-beat rhythms and breakdowns. I don’t see this album as 11 different songs; instead I see the album as one entity. It’s clear that Norma Jean knew exactly what kind of sound they were going for, and chose to have every song meet the same criteria. This can be a good thing for listeners who enjoy this type of music, but if you’re looking for an album that contains many different ideas and experimentation then look somewhere else. The best way to enjoy this album is by accepting the fact that there is a very one-dimensional sound at work here, but Norma Jean executes it with precision and intense passion. If you approach it with the right state of mind this is an album that you will enjoy, and make you want to break sh*t in a furious rage.
O’ God The Aftermath is probably my favorite Norma Jean record and I think it’s an album where they really found their sound. Listening to the album all the way through will probably bore most listeners, but this album is still a worthy addition to your music collection even if you just throw a song from this album on every once in a while. Fans of dissonant Hardcore, Mathcore and raw Metalcore will love this album and will most likely learn to respect the ideas that Norma Jean had going. All the songs sound pretty much the same so it’s kind of hard to choose a best song off the record, but for me Coffinspire is the high point of the album. The song is a collision of every good idea Norma Jean came up with in this album and is probably one of the greatest hardcore songs of all time. Hell this album even won a Grammy.